Sweden-based architect Mans Tham designed this serpent-shaped solar skin for the Sana Monica freeway. The proposed renovation of existing urban infrastructure is a critical pivot in the conversation on sustainable design, and the proposal presents an approach that would provide 237 acres of solar power to the middle of Los Angeles.
From a distance, the solar structure looks like a serpent winding its way through the stucco and palm tree studded neighborhoods. Inside, is a shaded, covered roadway. The exterior solar panels produce a peak of 150 mWhs of clean energy for LA residents. In addition to the new energy source, the transmission of freeway noise is reduced.
The proposal also includes plans to capture the exhaust fumes to make algae fuel on the side of the freeway. That technology has yet to be actualized, but the overall proposal is designed to look forward.